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We’re Sinking

Heroes Remember

We were given sea sick pills that if we needed them to take them and we had a girl with us and she... she was afraid of the water anyway and she was afraid of being seasick, most of us were... and so we were supposed to go in the evening and so she took her seasick pill before. We were only suppose to take it just before we sailed, I think, but she thought we were going to sail. Anyway we didn’t sail, but she was sure we were going so she took a second one. This was when, the little incident of us sinking. She had... there were three bunks in this small little cabin and I supposed there were about 12 or 15 of us in it. So anyway, around midnight or something, she says, “Be calm girls, be calm, but we’re sinking!” and she says, “My hands in water, we’re sinking”. Course we all slept with a flashlight under our pillow. So we jumped up and those of us who were in the bunks, we bumped our heads cause we had about that much room. So we were saying, “Ouch” and other more expressive words and then the girl at the bottom, she put her foot on the ground and she took her flashlight and it was dry. In the meantime, the girl said, “We’re tipping, it’s getting a little... my arm is getting deeper, but be calm girls. Don’t panic. Be calm”. And she found out, in all the... in England and where ever, they always had a bucket of sand and a bucket of water in corridors and rooms and so on and the bucket of water was right beside her bed. and her arm had dropped into it and that’s why she thought we were sinking. We didn’t have much sleep the rest of the night, we laughed so hard. But, she remembered to not panic. Keep calm.

Ms. MacAulay tells a humourous story of how one of the nursing sisters thought they were sinking.

Kathleen Jean MacAulay

Ms. MacAulay was born in Meadowville, Nova Scotia on January 2, 1917. She attended school in Meadowville in a one room school for grades 1 - 10. Then she went to nearby Stellarton for grade 11 and New Glasgow for grade 12. After attending Maritime Business College for a year, she left and went to Halifax to train as a nurse at the Victoria General Hospital. Ms. MacAulay graduated as a nurse in 1941 and enlisted to go overseas. Ms. MacAulay made the four day voyage on the Queen Elizabeth and landed in Scotland. Shortly after arriving, she was sent to Bramshott where she worked in the operating room and in the ward from Oct. ‘43 to July ‘44. From there, she went to Whitby for a short period before heading over to Normandy. Ms. MacAulay ended up in Germany at the end of the war and was there for part of the occupation. She met her husband, a Canadian soldier, in Germany and was married to him in Jan. ‘46. She returned to Canada aboard HMS Rodney in June of ‘46.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Kathleen Jean MacAulay
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Nursing Officer
Nursing Sister

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